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Archive for August, 2010

Sumi is a little over two months old now. She is a cute, cuddly, lovable 12.5 pounder with smiling half moon eyes. I try to take in the moment, knowing that these days are precious and she is already growing up so fast. My father told me that the one thing he regretted was the fact that he didn’t get to enjoy us while we were children. He was too worried about work, buying a house, providing us with an education. Alhamdulillah, we came out alright thanks to his emphasis on hard work. He would always tell us that practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes improvement and, “Success is beautiful.” He usually said that after Pete Sampras won a Wimbledon or U.S. Open.

Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I try to think of what would make the biggest impact on my child. I can overwhelm myself with thoughts of responsibility, how I have the potential to provide her with a great start or seriously dampen her chances, or I can concentrate on myself and my own improvement.

We all know the adage, “Do as I say, don’t do as I do.” We know that that’s never the case with children. I want Sumi to do as I do, but that means:

a) I need to always be mindful of what I’m doing. Am I raising my voice because the bathroom sink is filled with remnants of shaven beard hair? 🙂

b) I actually need to do, setting projects for my own self development. Alhamdulillah, with the encouragement of good sisters and my husband, I started running and getting back into shape. I hate running. I would much rather play volleyball, but it feels good not to always succumb to what I want. I had gained 63 pounds during my pregnancy and thus far have lost 53, alhamdulillah.

c) Prioritize what’s important. Am I instilling values and principles as opposed to pushing her to accomplish milestones and essentially creating an award based environment?

d) I need to surround her with people that also do. This is a huge worry for me. Not so much now, but when she is older. Will there be a good Muslim community for her to thrive in, where she doesn’t feel self conscious about being herself, and yet is motivated and inspired by the characters of others?

e) I need to trust in Allah. Trust so much in Allah that it is contagious in our household.

Allah has given me the immeasurable blessing of nurturing one of His servants. It’s time for me to buckle down, work on myself, and, here it comes…stay consistent. For if I can do that, then I am assured that Allah will help me with the rest.

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Sumi in the Sun

Enjoying the car ride to the park.

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Fifty years ago thoughts of community would have been images of people gathering together maybe for a townhall meeting, neighbors breaking bread, or simply waiting at the bus stop alongside other parents.  Now, different communities abound that have the potential to isolate us from our neighbors. With the computer as our medium, we slice through physical obstacles establishing relationships with people we may never meet. There is an unspoken sense of unity when we join a google group or receive responses on forums we check as religiously as our email.
This is good. I video chat with my aunt abroad whereas fifty years ago and a thousand dollars later I would have had to fly to see her. I can ask like-minded moms why my two month old is constantly spitting up. I even receive encouragement to remain consistent in my running program, if you can call it “running.” Yet feelings of isolation remain.
I have been wanting to write a blog post for a long time. However, every time I thought about what was going on in my life, it was laced with a tinge of negativity. Should I just vent about how difficult it is to breastfeed that I simply have become a voluntary prisoner in my home? Or, how tired I am from lack of sleep that I sometimes wish I was hooked up to an IV pushing caffeine?  No one would like that. Maybe some would commiserate. Others may think of me as a wimp. After all, how many mothers before me survived the first couple of months with a newborn without assistance and are looking forward to their next bundle of joy? And, anyway, isn’t this much better than being pregnant? The little voice inside me tells me to count my blessings.
And finally two days ago, it happened. I finally had something positive that I wanted to share. For one beautiful day, that feeling of isolation had disappeared. I was with the local community, sharing my first experience at a Farmer’s Market about five minutes away from home. I spoke to vendors asking them about their farms and fruits. We bought bread and if my husband wasn’t there, I would have splurged all my money on cheese. Maybe the advocates of buying local prioritize their reasoning based on the smaller ecological impact it has on our environment. I wonder if they realize the huge social impact it has on our community that no Stop n Shop or Wal-Mart can ever compete with. At the market, my dream of one day owning a farm was reignited.
“I can make due with just a couple of acres. I think one of those farmers would sell a couple of acres to us.”
“Okay, but where would we live?”
“Oh yea, we’d have to build a house.”
“Hmm…”

My husband has a good way of bringing me back to reality.
After the Farmer’s Market, we went home, had lunch, and then made our way to the beautiful local park. Ice cream cones in hand, baby snug on daddy’s chest, we walked and walked and walked. We cut through the grazing geese, gazed at the flowers, and watched as three different brides posed behind the backdrop of cherry blossoms and rose bushes all the while discussing the various things I can do on my imaginary farm.
We walked and smiled and people smiled back.
It was a good day.

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